The Declaration of Independence states that all people have certain rights.  What are they?  

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The Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Second Continental Congress on July 4th, 1776. The purpose of this document was to announce that the thirteen colonies would regard themselves as sovereign states no longer under British rule. The document states that there are certain rights that all human beings have, and it is the job of the government to protect these rights. These three rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They are known as "unalienable rights," meaning that they cannot be taken away.

The first two rights are fairly straightforward, but "the pursuit of happiness" has caused some controversy over the years. Today, happiness is mostly known as a general positive emotion, but back in 1776, when the document was written, the common usage of happiness could have been synonymous with thriving and well-being—more closely resembling our definition of "contentment."

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The Declaration of Independence was drafted because the Second Continental Congress believed we could no longer peacefully resolve our differences with Great Britain. Many colonists believed the British government was abusing its powers. There is an entire section in the Declaration of Independence that is devoted to the complaints we had about the King of England. Thus, we declared our independence from Great Britain.

The Declaration of Independence stated that all people have unalienable rights. These rights can’t be taken away or given up. These rights include the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The Declaration of Independence went on to state that the job of the government is to protect the rights of the people. When the government fails to do this, the people must replace the government with one that will protect their rights.

The Declaration of Independence has served as a model for other countries that wanted to be independent of the rule of governments that they believed had abused their power.

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